20 March 2009

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

We are in Khajuraho, Madya Pradesh, India. We spent today exploring the famous temples of this city (the ones with dirty Kama Sutra carvings on it). They date back to about 900 AD and are impressive. We are waiting for the heat to wear off and then we going to rent bicycles to explore more temples South of town.
We survived the long journey to get here, but it wasn't easy.
On the 12 hour bus ride we lived on peanuts, mango juice, and Indian snack food.
The 24 hour train ride; peanuts, raisins, and oranges.
I am staying away from the train food from now on.
After our bus ride we arrived in the stinkiest city yet, Hyderabad.
We were only there 24 hours and that was too long for me. The city was covered with a smoggy haze that is the worst I have ever seen.
I mostly stayed in the room after having my butt grabbed on the street and waited until we could leave for our train to Jhansi. (Luckily, we had HBO, in English!)
We were very optimistic about our train ride. 24 hours, but in 2nd class AC, which is quite comfortable and we hadn't had to share our cabin with any weirdo's...until this ride.
I won't go into it here, but the man we were bunking with made me so uncomfortable that I moved to an unoccupied side bunk and hid behind the curtain until he got off at his stop. Riley didn't sleep most of the night.
We made it to Jhansi around 9:30pm yesterday and found a room. We crashed before waking up at 5:45am to get the 4 hour local train to Khajuraho. Phew.
We finally made it around 12pm.
After getting off of the train yesterday, I had a realization: being a tourist in an Indian train station is just like being a celebrity. As soon as you get off 12 or so guys come running up to you offering rides and rooms each one cheaper than the last. They follow you all the way to the parking lot, until you get in a taxi and drive away. Now I know what the paparazzi is like. It sucks.
The rickshaw driver we went with also came with 2 guys pitching their hotels and a small boy about 10 yrs old. The 5 of us crammed into the tuk tuk. The 2 guys competed with each other the whole drive, trying to sell us a room. (It turned out that they were friends, they said they both date 2 sisters, but are competition while they are working.)
Riley told the guys that we would eat at the Zen hotel (we were starving) and then look at the rooms of both hotels and decide.
During our lunch there was quite a sales pitch. We had complementary crackers and spread, (a first for us in India) we both received free 10 minute massages, at the table, from their ayruvedic masseuse, and even a little friendly whit bunny rabbit came to greet us. His name is Lasso.
The 10 yr. old drove us to the other guys hotel but we went with Zen.
Tonight Riley is going to have a massage and I am going to get henna from the niece of a guy that works at our hotel.
Tomorrow we leave for Agra, we will arrive about 6pm. We plan on getting up early for the Taj Mahal. We read that it is best at sunrise. I can't wait.
Riley says hi!

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